TDH Ontario Inc. TDH Ontario quarterly newsletter Sharon Kashino

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1 Volume 2 Issue 4 January 2011 TDH Charity Gala: be the difference 1 Retrospective of 2010: TDH Ontario 2 Helping TDH Make a Difference Long Hai Centre: for the protection of children 4 Vung Tau Sponsorships: The bridge 5 University Scholarship: Kien, Nguyan Thien 6 Everyday in Everyway Campaign 7 Adoption Programs: Vietnam, Ukraine, Russia, Honduras, Ecuador 8 Q&A: Adoption in Vietnam 8 Family Features: Our Three Angels, Ukraine 10 You, the strangers 11 News, Current Events, Family Functions 12 Upcoming Adoption events 13 Literature Club: Who? What? Why? 14 Images of Adoption: Naomi Bronstein 15 We Remember 16 New Arrivals! 17 An Adoption Lifebook 18 Adoption in Depth Attachment in International Adoption 20 Gala Attachments 22 March 26 will be a special evening comprised of a spectacular four course meal, deluxe open bar, silent auction, raffle and entertainment, all in support of TDH and their projects. Special guests will include Vietnamese Delegates, TDH staff and the TDH Board of Directors. Funds raised from the evening will go to support the Long Hai Social Protection Centre in Vung Tau. This new centre is in its third phase, and is sure to provide life changing care under the direction of Mme. Le Trang Dai, who has proven her dedication and skill as the director of Vung Tau 1 and 2. The centre will provide nourishment, education, healthcare and lodging to approximately 300 children who are disadvantaged through poverty and/or disability. Tickets are $85/adult, $25/child. Order early as space is limited! For more information or to purchase tickets visit or TDH Ontario Inc. 36 Home Ave. P.O. Box 963 Vankleek Hill, ON K0B 1R0 (613) / (613) (fax) TDH Ontario quarterly newsletter Sharon Kashino TDH L Infolettre Québec Alexandre Brulotte The Gala Weekend Each year people come from near and far to support TDH s gala, so this year the gala committee is working to provide families with a fun filled as well as informative weekend. Information on hotels located close to the festivities, and other details, can be found at: TDH Seminar- Saturday, March 26th 2011 at 4:30 pm Le Jardin Conference & Event Centre, 8440 Highway 27, Woodbridge, Ontario Dorinda and the staff of TDHO will host a seminar to discuss the most current adoption program information and answer questions from attendees. Last year this session was extremely informative, and with Vietnamese delegates attending this year, along with the new Vietnamese laws taking affect, the seminar should be one filled with a wealth of knowledge. Children s Celebration- Sunday, March 27th, 2011 at 10am-12pm The Play Cube, 8000 Highway 27, Unit 8, Woodbridge, Ontario A light brunch will be held the morning after the gala. All families are welcome (waiting and those that have adopted). It will be a great opportunity for Dorinda, the staff and board of TDH and the Vietnamese delegates to meet and interact with all of the children. Tickets are $5/person and will include refreshments and a light breakfast. Purchase your tickets early to avoid disappointment as space is limited at this venue. Christine Morra

2 Page 2 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 Retrospective of 2010: TDH Ontario The year 2010 was a year that showed consolidation in our adoption process and a new effort in some areas. In 2007, the first full year of our operation, we were able to complete 36 adoptions. In the year which ended on December 31, 2008, we were able to propose 39 children to Ontario families from Vietnam, and 29 were completed. On December 31, 2009, we had proposed 35 children, and completed 31 adoptions. And in 2010 we have proposed 35 children (completion of adoptions is counted at January 31, so we don t have the final number as yet). The primary reason for the discrepancy in numbers is that some of the children proposed in one year have the adoptions completed in the following year. Of the some 350 adoptions to date for Quebec and Ontario since TDH re-started adoptions from Vietnam in 2006, I can think of 10 times that a referral has been lost - through death of the child, change of mind, or "bureaucratic" particularities. Our present complement is 6 paid staff (total of about 145 man-hours per week). Manon continues to work with parents before proposal of a child; Hélène takes charge of the dossiers from proposal to travel, and of the statistics and communication with the Ministry post-adoption; Nadia is in charge of the Ukraine program, and Emi is in charge of Latin America (Honduras and Ecuador). Jose is our accountant. Nadia Lutskaya has worked with the staff this year to establish Ukraine on a firm footing, and it is becoming more and more stable, especially as a source of older children. The average age of the children whom we have placed in Quebec (55) is about 4 years old, but we are insisting that parents be prepared to take children who are 5 years and up, because there is more assurance that a healthy child of this age can be easily found. Additionally, for older parents (over 40 years old), Ukraine requires that they accept older children. The process for parents ready to accept a child of 6 years or more is very rapid - less than 6 months in total. There are three families interested in adopting Ukrainian children, and we hope that two of these adoptions will be finalized soon. Several other families have also expressed interest, and we hope this program will grow in the coming year (2011). Nadia has also continued to work to receive our accreditation in Russia. In Quebec, this process began some 7 years ago, but due to Russia s reorganization and prioritization to renew accreditations of existing agencies, we have only recently received this accreditation in the last few months. We have presented and obtained registration for TDH Ontario as an agency, now that we have been in operation for 5 years. The Board had approved that we request an extension of our license to include Russia, which is now granted by the Ontario Ministry. Application for accreditation in Russia is now in process, and we are estimating that we will be able to start our Russia program within the year. Children available will be from about 18 months. Emi Svetlitza, speaking English, French, and Spanish, has taken over the Honduras program, and has been the driving force in making applications for Ecuador. Our license has been extended to Honduras, and we have received the first two proposals of children from this country. The Ministry has also approved our license extension to Ecuador, and we have applied for accreditation. We are still waiting for a response from Ecuador. Marlene Alt has continued to maintain and improve our website on a volunteer basis, and it is becoming more interesting and informative all the time. If you do not do so regularly, please consult it at: Sharon Kashino, assisted by a growing number of other volunteers, is the editor of the TDH Ontario newsletter. Christine Morra is our volunteer fund-raising coordinator. The Gala which took place in April raised more than $25,000 this year, an increase of some $7,000 over last year s Gala. The next Gala is on a Saturday night, March 26, and will benefit the Long Hai project in Vung Tau. More information on the Gala and the Long Hai project is available in this newsletter. Christine has also recently set up a Facebook page for TDH: Canada/ We have begun, in collaboration with TDH Canada and TDH Quebec, and under the direction of Christine, to renew our efforts at fund-raising. Our Dragonfly Campaign is (Continued on page 3)

3 Page 3 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 (Continued from page 2) gaining momentum, and we are considering expansion to the sale of other items from Vietnam. The sale of a block of tickets for the gala event at Place Des Arts launching Claude Meunier s first film brought in $7,500; two galas have been organized in Toronto over a two year period, bringing in close to $50,000; the first Gala in Quebec brought in $85,000 and the second close to $100,000; and our Every Day Every Way mail campaign, an effort to encourage monthly giving, which will assure an income each month which can be counted on has thus far brought in $5000 in single, onetime donations plus $220 per month as monthly giving. We feel this campaign has great potential and it will be repeated this year. Additional fundraising events occur throughout the year, organized largely by adoptive families in their communities. Most are announced through our newsletter and some through . So please be sure the TDH office has your current address. We are also looking into the possibility of contacting Canadian- Vietnamese business persons who may wish to be involved with TDH in contributing to projects in Vietnam. In Vietnam, we had been approved to do adoptions in 5 provinces: Quang Ninh, Hoa Binh, Vung Tau, Tra Vinh, and Ho Chi Minh City. The new law passed by the National Assembly in June went into effect on January 1, 2011, but the decrees and circulars describing the implementation of the law have not come out yet. The law specifies a longer waiting period to allow children to be adopted locally (in their own province) or nationally and additionally centralizes the process, with the greatest authority resting in the hands of the Ministry of Justice. It also eliminates any direct relationships with a few provinces, meaning that children potentially could come from any province in Vietnam. In Ukraine, in collaboration with TDH Canada, we initiated a program which allowed selected children to come to Canada for a visit to stay with a Canadian family for about 4 weeks in the summer. Four families participated in the program. In addition to being an enriching experience for these children, it is possible that families may consider adoption for the child they have hosted. We feel that the visit may dispel the fears that many parents and adoption practitioners express when considering the adoption of an older child. This program will allow children who would probably never be adopted to have a chance at a real family. It will be repeated this summer, so if anyone is interested please contact Manon In January of 2010, we brought a group of 22 high school students from Collège Ste-Anne in Lachine and St. Michael s College in Vancouver to Vietnam for a week to work in an orphanage in Kontum province. This orphanage, comprising 5 separate orphanages, cares for about 500 children. At present these children are not able to be adopted because of the fact that they are private orphanages. Another administrative initiative to be implemented in the next few months is an adoption software system called CAIRS, and specifically MyAdoptionPortal.com. All families who are registered with TDH will be able to enter the site and trace their own status in the process, and send and receive s and notices of events and changes, as well as benefit from many other features of the program. We will give you more information about this in the next newsletter. Finally, the year ended with the coming to Canada of three very special children: the little girl Hong Lam, thought to have Down s Syndrome (recent tests results confirmed that she does not) is with her new family; Bao, the little boy with cloacal extrophy has also found his new home and is doing well with his five brothers and sisters; and little Hong An, who has arthrogryposis, came to Canada with his soon-to-be adoptive parents. All three adoptions will take place at the Vietnamese Embassy in Ottawa. The work that we do as TDH is supported by you who have adopted through us and by you who continue to support us with donations. If, in your opinion, these actions directed towards saving the lives of children and improving their situation in life is worthwhile, please remember that we at TDH are acting on your behalf. These are your accomplishments. Without your support none of these things would be happening. Thank you. Dorinda Cavanaugh, Director

4 Page 4 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 Long Hai Centre for Protection of Children: TDH has recently made a commitment to raise funds to complete phase 3 of the Long Hai Center for Protection of Children, as described below. This is a great opportunity for us to have a significant positive impact on the wellbeing of children in the Vung Tau area over the long term. Read on to learn more about this school/centre for children in Vietnam. If you desire additional detail, there is a comprehensive document outlining the project and goals available upon request. This is a well-thought out and locally supported initiative that will have a really positive influence on children in need. Additionally, TDH's involvement in and support of this project is regarded favourably in relation to our adoption programs in Vietnam in general and in Vung Tau specifically. Money raised will go toward the construction and furnishing of the school/centre. Operating costs for the completed center have been covered through local government support and the support of other funding agencies. Long Hai is a small coastal city near Vung Tau, situated about 120 km east of Ho Chi Minh City on the South China Sea. It has about 100,000 permanent residents and is seen as a refuge for families from poor provinces of Vietnam, who imagine that they will find a better life in the province of Baria-Vung Tau. Here, several thousand families live in precarious situations and are unable to feed and educate their children. Many abandoned or orphaned children find refuge at the Vung Tau Child Protection Centre, supported by the French association Enfants des Rizières and aided by TDH. A significant proportion of the inhabitants of Long Hai consist of small enterprise fishermen and day labourers. Many children who are sponsored by these two associations, as well as the employees of the Centre live in Long Hai. Certain families experience particular difficulties and live their lives in the shantytowns. The children are forced to work in order to help provide basic necessities for the family. They thus do not go to school and their future is uncertain. Once they fail to go to school, they are no longer able to attend public school as their level of scolarity is judged inconsistent with their age level. the South of Vietnam. Many houses in Long Hai were destroyed, aggravating the precarious situation of these families and their children. Faced with the increasing numbers of children abandoned by very young mothers, children deprived of education and access to health care for economic reasons, and despite the efforts of local authorities, the actual structures in the province of Baria-Vung Tau cannot receive these children in difficult situations and offer them a real chance of integration. Long Hai Centre is both a place to live and a place to learn for disadvantaged children, in what approaches a familial environment. The vocation of the Centre is to receive, nourish, and lodge street children and children of disadvantaged families, as well as handicapped children who were victims of Agent Orange (Dioxin). On completion, its capacity will be for 200 day students under 18 years old who will be able to go to school, cared for and taught by 10 to 15 adults. The boarding school will be able to accommodate 60 children and 30 infants. The two first phases have been completed (construction and equipment). The inauguration ceremony for the Day Centre for the children took place October 23, There are also 3,500 persons in the province of Vung Tau who are victims of Agent Orange. This powerful defoliant used by the American troops during the war is the toxin dioxin, which has multiple effects, particularly among disadvantaged populations, causing severe handicaps and birth defects. Additionally, Long Hai was badly affected by typhoon Durian which struck on December 6, 2006, touching families in We are presently researching financing for the construction of Phase 3 (completion of day centre, boarding for older children, and dayschool and daycare and boarding for younger and handicapped children): - Six classrooms. - Two rooms for sewing instruction. - One rehabilitation room for handicapped children. - One nursery. - One service block. - Dormitories for personnel and boarding students. Be a part of the solution for these children in need. Share this opportunity for involvement with your friends, families, employers and business contacts. For more information please contact: Manon Parent

5 Page 5 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 Vung Tau Sponsorships: The bridge Sponsorship is a popular fundraising technique, particularly with Non- Government Organizations (NGO s) who work with children. The general idea is that a sponsor is sought for a particular child on the grounds that the one-on-one relationship has more potential for benefiting the child than global donations to a general fund. That is certainly true in the ideal and sometimes true in the real. But the general fact is that the child is one in a group of a few to hundreds in an orphanage. Both features of the sponsored child, its individuality and the child s institutional context, have to be recognized. What is generally not thought about is the fact that the gulf between an adult North American and impoverished third world child is wide and deep. Age, culture, language, distance, understanding, expectations, human yearning and human compassion they all affect the experience of the relationship. It is a difficult road that bridges that chasm and one that is bumpy with obstacles. The bridge itself is supported by two pillars, the NGO and the local Program Manager. The bridge springs up from those two pillars, touching the opposite shores and meeting in the middle. The two shores, the donor and the child remain fixed but slowly changing entities. The pillars tend to remain fixed and stable. It is the bridge that is vulnerable because it is a dynamic flow of money and information. The bridge is built on the correlative assumptions that children need sponsors and that there are sponsors who want to help children. The relationship between a Canadian donor and a Vietnamese child is an unequal relationship, that of a giver and a receiver. The child is, as all children are, a passive recipient, hardly aware of his or her own needs. The energy of the relationship springs mostly from the donor, who has the compassionate impulse to reach out over the obstacles to help a child. It is a pure act of generosity; not of lot of appreciation comes back in return. Best intentions are to send updates to the donor - but information is so hard to obtain that many groups using this method of fundraising end up being able to provide only generic information. So in the end, it is the basic compassionate impulse in the donor that is the driving force of the sponsorship relationship. The great asset of this program is Trang Dai, who is widely recognized as an excellent administrator. However, TDH was not really prepared for the administrative task of this program. Nevertheless, we have run the program now for two years and have gradually put into place the various elements necessary for its management, learning as we have gone along. At this point we feel that we are now in a position to promote the TDH Sponsorship Programs, particularly the program for the Vung Tau Orphanages. Presently, through Trang Dai we have 27 children who have been sponsored by 27 donors with a donation of $300 a year. Some of those donations were for two years, 2009 and 2010, but in general they were donations for one year. Now, at the beginning of 2011, TDH is in a position to ask the donors if they will renew their sponsorship. Trang Dai has many more children and she will be hoping that TDH can find more donors to support them. Over the next few months current sponsors will be contacted to confirm their intent to continue with the program and new sponsors will be matched with children in need. Current sponsors will be asked to consider a top-up contribution to cover the period since their previous $300 installment expired and to enroll in monthly contributions going forward. The implementation of monthly contributions serves two purposes: first, it streamlines the management of the program allowing it to remain a no-overhead program administered largely by volunteers, and second, it enables TDH to provide a continuous stream of support to Trang Dai s children. $30 per month makes a huge difference to a child in Vietnam. For more information or to register/re-activate as a sponsor please contact Christine Morra at: Brendan Cavanaugh How the bridge operates is mostly a matter of the individual NGO s capacities to establish relationships with local managers, to solicit donors and manage their donations appropriately, and to work with the local manager who must determine the individual child s needs and how best to respond to them. The way those tasks are conducted on the basis of thirty sponsored children differs considerably from a base of three hundred or three thousand children. The larger the number of children, the higher the management costs. The TDH sponsorship program is small and inexpensive to operate. At this point there are virtually no special overhead costs attached to it. The present sponsorship projects came about because of the 2008 initiative of Trang Dai, the Director of the Vung Tau orphanages. As it happened, one of TDH s adoptive parents, Pascale Desautels, returned to Vietnam to visit her brother who resides there. She paid a social call on Trang Dai. And Trang Dai took the opportunity to ask Pascale to coordinate a sponsorship program for the children. Pascale agreed, talked to TDH, and the Vung Tau oriented program was set up right at the end of Seeing the growth and development of a sponsored child, like Thi Cuc, knowing you have made a positive impact in their life, is a wonderful feeling.

6 Page 6 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 Kien outside the Ta Quang Buu electronic library. University Scholarship Program: Vietnam KIEN, NGUYAN THIEN A few years ago, in 2005, Mme Hoi, the then Vietnamese Ambassador to Canada, presented us at TDH with a request. She had learned that one of the Vietnamese newspapers in Hanoi had run a feature story about a boy named Kien, Nguyan Thien. We learned something about his background and his character. He comes from a family of extremely poor but extremely hardworking parents. His mother suffers from excruciating back pain, undiagnosed at this point. His father is a handicapped invalid. He has only his left arm. But he has a job collecting money for electricity, which earns him 100,000 Dong a month (about $8 dollars CDN). His second job is his hairdressing business. He is so skillful that people sit for hours waiting their turn with him. So Kien comes from a family of courageous, hardworking people. University students are famously poor, but this boy s poverty went beyond the norm. He was so poor that he did not even have the money to buy his books. So what he was Kien copying books by hand. doing was borrowing the books from other students and copying them out longhand at night. It was an arduous and inefficient way to learn! Mme Hoi went on to tell us that there were numerous students like him in Vietnam. It seemed a terrible waste of a mind to allow a boy with that kind of determination and thirst for knowledge to have to stumble along under such a burden of poverty. Dorinda found a sponsor for him at $100 a month. Some of his translated words read this way: His life and that of his parents has been altered. And he is fully aware of what it has meant to him as his letter attests. When we went to Vietnam in 2008, we arranged to meet Kien at a restaurant. He was all that Thuy said he was and all one might expect of a serious student. He has chosen to study electrical engineering and has recently sent us his report card with a 7.8 average. Recently he wrote (slightly edited): Dear Mrs Dorinda! There is only a month from now to when I take an exam to end this term. And now, I have to practise very much in my school s laboratory. I ve gotten the scholarship of my school for 4 terms. I have just taken part in "electrical faculty intelligence". I have received a scholarship which is a english course value 60USD. I took some photos. I have just learnt how to send it by yahoomail. There are 2 photos. One of them that I took it 2 months ago when I was standing beside TA QUANG BUU electronic library in my school. One remains that I took when I was practising in the electrical motor laboratory. Besides, there is my mark table which I download from my school s website for 4 terms. I haven't translated it into english. I am sorry about that. But I promise you that I will send you its english version as soon as I can. Kien, Nguyen Thien something I could never have imagined: that I would be the recipient of your precious help. It has touched me enormously. You who live so far away, on the other half of the planet from where I live. There are so many differences between us: geographical distance, the barrier of language, of culture...but you bring me love and a kind heart. I am so very appreciative. I understand that it is the conviction among people on earth, as the Vietnamese say, that we should open our arms to others. This encounter between you and me has bound us together, and has made life more meaningful. I am happy to benefit from such a great help at the beginning of a part of my life full of such profound changes for me Practising in the electrical motor laboratory. As you can see from the two pictures he has sent us, Kien is an unusually intelligent and determined young man with the evident virtues of industriousness, perseverance and resourcefulness. He is someone of whom his donor, and indeed all of us at TDH, can all be proud. $100 per month provides the opportunity for a young person in Vietnam to attend University. Sponsorship may be shared among several families (e.g. 4 families each contributing $25 per month). For more information please contact: Christine Morra

7 Page 7 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 Fundraising Campaign: Every Day in Every Way Dear friends, During my visits to Vietnam in early October and again in late November/beginning of December this year, I had the immense privilege of meeting some, among the hundreds, of children you have been helping over the years through TDH. I saw children in orphanages who have benefited so much from the receipt of toys, bicycles and special medical treatments. These treatments, unavailable without the help of outside sponsorship, permit these children to live normal, painfree lives. I saw vast improvements to orphanages. I saw how chickens and Asian buffalo provided through TDH programs changed the lives of children and their families, allowing them to become not only selfsufficient, but contributing members of their communities. Rehabilitation services have been provided for some of the child victims of Agent Orange. Other children can now sleep in a bed and stay warm with a blanket. They don t have to sleep on the dirt under a newspaper. And of course, let s not forget the wee, and not so wee, ones cared for in orphanages, as they wait for their loving forever family has been a great year for TDH, thanks to you! When I think of this and previous years accomplishments, I realize that without your generous help many of these children would still be living in difficult conditions due to extreme poverty and inaccessibility of medical treatment. Whenever I visit Vietnam, Honduras or Ukraine, I immediately see the positive changes your help inspires on these children s faces. With your support, we can sponsor children, undertake new projects, build medical clinics and assist young people in getting an education to improve their life conditions. To accomplish these projects, we must have resources: Time, Energy, Work, Money. Every small donation makes the difference, especially when multiplied incrementally over the year by numerous supporters. Hence, I kindly ask you to join our monthly donation program ~ Every Day in Every Way. With a donation each month, you will support us with a reliable source of funds to continue our work, to help improve the lives of children and communities every day in every way. Of course, if it is not possible for you to donate each month, you can submit a single donation which will make a difference. For a single or monthly donation, please use the form below and send it to us. In TDH s name, I sincerely thank you for your generosity. It is only with your continuous support that we will be able to answer the calls of impoverished children. Best regards, Dorinda Cavanaugh Translated by Sandra Bellemare Yes! I ll help Every Day in Every Way! Enclosed is my VOID cheque as well as my name, mailing address and address. Please deduct, from my bank account, the monthly amount of: $25/month $50/month I prefer to give $ /month You may alter the amount of your gift or end your contributions at any time by contacting our office. You will receive a tax receipt for your total donations the following spring. Alternatively, you may phone Jose Garcia at (514) to make donation arrangements. Or donate through Canada Helps on the TDH websites. Mail your form and void cheque to: TDH Canada Inc. 36 Home Ave., P.O. Box 963 Vankleek Hill, Ontario K0B 1R0 Fax: (613) Telephone: (613) Charitable Reg.#:

8 Page 8 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 Adoption Program Updates: 4 th Quarter Vietnam There have been 7 proposals to Ontario* families between October 1 and December 31, 2010, including 3 boys and 4 girls. All of these children were from Vung Tau. 2 of the children had special needs. Most of the referrals made in this period were to families whose Ministry Approval was received in the spring/ summer, families departed on their adoption trip in this quarter. *includes families in other provinces except Quebec Discrepancies between cumulative quarterly totals and those reported in Dorinda s retrospective on page 2 result from changes of proposals, special needs additions and relative adoptions which rarely impact on the standard waitlist. Ukraine Six Quebec families have completed adoptions from Ukraine this quarter: 4 individual child adoptions (ages 3,5,10 and 12) and 2 sibling groups of 2 (ages 2 and 4, 3 and 7). Ontario families are encouraged to apply. Ecuador The Ontario Ministry has approved our license extension to Ecuador, and we have applied for accreditation. We continue to wait for a response from Ecuador. Honduras A single mother went to Honduras in October for her first trip. During this trip she completed the final psychological and psychosocial evaluation done by a social worker and a psychologist from the adoption department in Honduras and was able to meet her 2 year old daughter. In mid-december she returned to Honduras to spend the holidays with her daughter even though she did not have the Court date yet. Fortunately, her court date occurred only a few days later. Applications for Honduras are being accepted from Ontario parents, however the maximum of five dossiers for Quebec applicants has been reached. A 3 1/2 year old boy with club feet in a wheel chair is among the children needing a family. Russia The Ontario Ministry has granted an extension to our license to include Russia. Application for accreditation in Russia is now in process, and we are estimating that we will be able to start our Russia program within the year. Children available will be from about 18 months. For more information on any program please contact: Manon Parent Questions and Answers: Adoption in Vietnam The decrees and circulars, which officially explain the new procedures for international adoption from Vietnam have still not been issued. The below answers and comments reflect the content of my meeting with Mr. Binh, Director of the Department of Adoption, Ministry of Justice, in early December. But even this is subject to modification, according to what will come out in the decrees and circulars. 1 How many files logged in Vietnam received proposals before the Dec 31 deadline? In spite of every effort made to prepare all our partners for what was to happen, and for the deadline of December 31, Vietnamese authorities in the provinces had their individual interpretations and prejudices about what would happen, and whether it was wise to present new children before December 31. Many thought that there was no hope to finish, and so they should wait until the new law came into effect before proposing children. Others were faced with the competition among agencies, and the pressure being put upon them from several directions, and the need to "partition" available children among all the agencies they were working with. The end result was that of the 44 dossiers we were able to register by September 30 for Ontario and Quebec, we were able to secure 15 child proposals. Disappointing for us, as I know it is for you as well. 2 - What will happen to the logged files that did not receive proposals? It remains unclear whether logged dossiers will be maintained or returned to the Agency for resubmission. Dossier contents continue to stale-date until they are logged in with the DA. Within the next few months we will be told how many dossiers we will be allowed to deposit (or re-deposit), which number will be based on the numbers of adoptions we have done during the past years. Our average has been about 35 for Ontario and 35 for Quebec, so we are expecting that our "quota" will be around this number. We will still proceed according to the order on our waiting list, and thus we are hoping that there will not be a significant change in numbers for As soon as we have details, we will inform you about what needs to be done in order for the dossier to be in correct form. Unfortunately, this may mean renewal once again of documents, new application form. (Continued on page 9)

9 Page 9 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 (Continued from page 8) 3 How will the new law effect proposals in 2011? We may receive older/special needs referrals but are not hoping for infant proposals from January to May. Under the new law for every new child who comes into the orphanage, there is a mandatory 180 days before the child can be proposed in international adoption. This includes the search for the birth mother (unless the child is relinquished), the search for a local Vietnamese family wishing to adopt the child, and the search for a family anywhere in Vietnam through the national database. In the best possible scenario, if a child was relinquished by a birth mother on December 2, in theory, the child could be proposed in international adoption as early as April or May For abandoned children, however, it will certainly be a six month wait. We are confident and believe that adoptions will return to normal after the initial six month waiting period. Children being referred will, by necessity, be over 5 months of age. 4 - May TDH families receive children from orphanages with whom TDH has not worked in the past? How will it be determined to which Province each dossier goes? How will proposals be allocated? Once the requirements have been met, the orphanage must send a list of their adoptable children to the Department of Adoption (DA). The DA will then decide which agencies will be offered children in any particular province. At this point, any agency can be proposed children in any province. The DA will inform the agency and the agency will determine which dossiers may be sent to that province, according to the characteristics of the children and the criteria of the parents. So as an example, if Vung Tau has 15 children available for adoption, DA may decide that TDH can send 10 dossiers, a French agency may send 10, and an Italian agency may send 10. Then it will be up to the orphanage to decide how many children each agency will get, and which family will be offered which child. So if we receive 5 children, the other 5 TDH dossiers will return to DA and wait for the next round of referrals. At this point the medicals will be done, and following this the children will be proposed to the families. 5 - What can we do to accelerate our case and have a child proposal sooner? Please note that to modify the criteria of your file, you must update your homestudy by contacting your adoption practitioner. In reviewing the criteria for the child, here are the criteria that make a difference on the speed of proposals: Gender: There is a larger number of boys and fewer parents waiting for a boy. It is therefore faster to receive a proposal for a boy. Age: It is expected that the proportion of older child proposals will increase. Increasing your requested age to 24 months, or older, may give you an advantage. Additionally, one positive outcome is for those who have requested children over the age of 2. Because we will have access to orphanages throughout Vietnam, it will hopefully mean that those criteria can be more easily met. Special Needs: There are a fair number of children with minor special needs. Special needs are not necessarily severe disabilities. These may be children with mild developmental delays, or with hepatitis B or C, but more importantly, it may be children whose diagnosis is difficult to give with certainty. These are children that are not formally special needs children according to Vietnam s criteria, but may be special needs by Canadian parents standards. 6 - How is the proposal of special needs children taking place? The Vietnamese government is trying to promote the adoption of special needs children. Very soon we expect that there will be a list of what conditions are considered special needs by the Department of Adoption. Shortly after that either we will hear of special needs children in the different orphanages or we will be able to deposit parent dossiers for special needs children (these dossiers may have to specify what special needs the parents are open to receiving). The provinces are required to send the complete dossiers of all adoptable special needs children in their orphanages to DA. The matching will take place at DA and the provinces will be asked to prepare the Decision on Adoption immediately. Thus is seems that these adoptions will move to finalization rapidly. 7 - How long do we have to accept or reject a proposal? It depends on the orphanage. For one of them (Vung Tau 1) the response must be immediate. For other orphanages, you have approximately one week. In most cases, when the child is proposed, we have the results of medical tests. We think that this will probably also be the case under the new law. In the case of Vung Tau 1, the tests may be done after the proposal of the file, but parents can change their minds after receiving the medical. Through past experiences, we would say that about 1 child in 10 (ie 10%) has health problems more serious than is generally anticipated by parents. In all cases concerning children with special needs you will have enough time to have the medical testing checked by your pediatrician before making your decision. 8 - What happens to our status if we refuse a proposal of a child? Your file returns to the list and you keep your place. You return to the level where you were. You will receive another proposal when the next child having the characteristics of your application arises. 9 - How long is the wait between the proposal and departure to Vietnam? It is our hope that during the six month waiting period the necessary investigations will be done, so that once the child is proposed, the balance of the process can be finished within 2 months. Dorinda Cavanaugh

10 Page 10 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 Family Features: Our Three Angels, Ukraine The story of a lifetime, the adoption of three siblings from Ukraine. December , Kiev, Ukraine. We hardly sleep, unable to stop thinking about our third and last meeting with the State Department of Adoption (SDA). Tomorrow could be the end of our adoption journey. It has been suggested that we come back later, in February 2009, when perhaps there will be more files of children to adopt. However, we are reluctant to re-live the roller-coaster of emotions and all we have gone through this time. Our request is for two children under four years old. But today is Christmas! We are keeping are hopes up! We have talked about it and now that the situation is clearer, we agree to adopt three kids if it is possible. Tick tock, tick tock. Our one hour meeting with the SDA is almost finished. Only five minutes left. We look at each other thinking our adventure is coming to an end. But we are fighters! I ask to see a specific binder in the bookcase. This particular binder has files of sibling groups of three. Here the fate of hundreds of children relies on their photo and short bio. The SDA lady asks us if we are approved for three siblings. Without hesitation, we firmly answer Yes, a big Catholic lie that we will confess later. We have nothing to lose. Our time is up. This is not recommended and we know we are taking a huge chance. I turn every page in the binder as we firmly believe in love at first sight. Getting to the end, there they are. First, Marina s beautiful eyes catch our attention. Then, we see her two young beautiful brothers with their large smiles... It was them. Our coordinator verified with the orphanage, the three kids are in good health, intelligent and their greatest wish is to have parents. But the battle is not won. They are four, six and twelve years old. Our home study doesn t allow us to bring them back. However, deep inside, without doubt, it is them. Too many circumstances make us think they were there, waiting for us. and we give them some presents and candy. Then, they come to give us a kiss and a meaningful huge hug (meaning finally someone is coming to get us). Again, we look at each other and no words are needed to tell each other that our lives have changed starting at this precise moment. It s not over. We fight to have these kids join our family. We come back to Canada to update our home study. Adopting three kids, one of which is a teenager, is not something our adoption practitioner or our youth center have seen. Luckily, our adoption practitioner supports our choice and justifies our case to the youth center director. Today, our kids look at us with great big smiles when we tell them their story. Two years. We will soon celebrate our second anniversary as a family. We came back to Canada on February 18, The first three months were a challenge due to the language difference. We, the parents, were in the minority. We learned more Russian than them French. Three months went by and the boys slowly switched to French and actually stopped speaking Russian as if they wanted to turn the page. It s been longer for Marina. In June, she started speaking with her brothers in French. Today, it is amazing to see their progress. They evolved and are well adapted. It feels like we have been a family forever. These children are intelligent, likeable, charming and affectionate. Getting settled, one year later... December A joyful first meeting! December Two days later. We go to the orphanage in the Kharkov region which is in a village far from the city. We are sitting in a small room with many other people and we wait for the kids. The situation feels a bit surrealistic. We first meet the young four year old Nikita (now named Nicolas), followed by his six year old brother Stanislav (now named Sacha) and finally the older twelve year old sister, Marina. The young ones recite a poem Some people sometimes say: Wow, three kids! You are courageous. No! We are simply in love. We wanted a family and always wanted to adopt. We are so happy to give the opportunity to these three siblings to stay together. Of course, tons of love, of patience and discipline is needed to become a parent of an adopted child. Even more, when you adopt three at a time. Nothing is impossible. Finally, never get discouraged. When we want something deep inside, from our heart, we can have it... The Ferland-Thibault Family Translated by Sandra Bellemare

11 Page 11 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 You, the Strangers I followed you, you strangers from the other end of the world, without even knowing where you were from. I left behind loved ones to follow you, knowing that my life here does not have much of a future. I closed my eyes and followed this unknown language that sounded sweet to my ears. I called you mommy and daddy without knowing the meaning. I still don t understand what is going on around me nor who I am inside but, as a small injured animal, I let myself be tamed and especially loved, a feeling that I had almost forgotten. I was tiny inside as I was missing so much. However, you strangers unconditionally loved me. You give me everything I dreamt of and even more. Happiness can now be seen in my eyes. You helped me become big. I am not tiny because you are there to encourage me, to tell me that I can now exist without fear of disturbing. I can finally say that I m living and not surviving. I now know the meaning of Mommy and Daddy. All these loving attentions I receive from you as if I am the center of the universe. I know you offer arms to comfort me and ears to listen to me. There will be someone to encourage me. Now, I am able to tell you what I would like to do when I am older; I was not able to not so long ago as the future did not mean much to me. You taught me the nicest words: I love you. Beside you, I feel I count. On top of everything, you are teaching me to replace pain with happiness. I so suffered morally and physically. I have the right to live my kid s life without thinking of tomorrow. I am trying to trust you, convincing myself that you will be there for me and that the word abandoned is part of the past even though, the scar is there forever. Yes, I still reflect on my old life. Yes, I have difficulty to love and to be loved. Yes, I do everything I can to drive you crazy as I am trying to protect myself. I really do not want to suffer anymore. I simply want to know how much you love me. And, in spite of all of this, my life is too beautiful to carry regrets. Perhaps, my only regret is not having you in my life earlier, you that were strangers and now my parents. Written by Julie Thibault for her three children, adopted from Ukraine at ages 4,6 and 12 Translated by Sandra Bellemare Adapted by Sharon Kashino

12 Page 12 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 News, Current Events, Upcoming Family Functions A family day of Winterlude fun: Sunday February 20th, Ottawa Meet with other adoptive families, join the fun and build connections for your children through participating in any of the following meet and greets! *10:30 am at Dows Lake by the Man with two hats sculpture for a family fun skate on the Rideau Canal or you can hop on the Giant Tiger Train for a FREE ride. Restaurants and indoor pavilion available. * 1:45 pm at Confederation park at the fire pit. Enjoy all that Confederation park has to offer as well as the following special event: * 2 to 4pm at Confederation park : Crystal Journey - Original sounds created with the combination of crystal bowls and Asian gongs provide a unique experience. * 5 pm a potluck dinner at the home of Samantha, Woody, Max and Vanh. For this part of the fun day only please contact Samantha for directions (and to RSVP) at: or by phone Contact Bev at: lazy2thebonesatyahoodotcom if you have any questions Tet Celebrations Special events for Tet are being planned in many communities and families with children adopted from Vietnam have always found these interesting and welcoming events. Be sure to check your local community listings to see what is happening in your area! TDH families will be gathering to celebrate in Ottawa and in Toronto may join with the larger group Families with Children from Vietnam to ring in the Vietnamese New Year. More information on these events is available by contacting: Ottawa: Sandra Bellemare RSVP required by Jan 15 Toronto: Vanessa Charlesworth Save the Day! Sewing the seeds of learning Saturday May 7, Where: The Montgomery Branch Legion, 330 Kent Street, Ottawa When: 7pm, Saturday, May 7, 2011 What: Plan to visit the Ottawa area to enjoy the Tulip Festival ( then test your knowledge against hand picked questions from Trivial Pursuit and Cranium and participate in the silent auction to raise funds to equip a full classroom with sewing machines for young women learning the seamstress trade. Price: TBD For more information contact: Meg Green Molly Proud and Ambitious Vietnamese-Canadian Molly came home to Canada in 2001, from Hanoi (Access Adoptions). She was recently asked to be on a first class Canadian Stamp! She's been a member of Girl Guides of Canada for 2 years, and they are celebrating 100 years of Guiding in Canada. It was a year of celebrations!! The stamp came out on July 8, 2010 at local post offices. It's been very exciting for Molly and Emma, who have been friends since kindergarten, to know that their stamp is making its way across Canada and the world! Photo: Reprinted with permission from Canada Post. Molly is also featured in and on the cover of ``You`re My Hero, Inspiring Stories By And About Our Heroes`` written by The Girls and Women of Girl Guides of Canada. Molly describes her hero: Dr. Annie Huang at Sick Kids Hospital and her aspirations to become a doctor and find a cure for cancer. Kim Lewis

13 Page 13 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 Upcoming Adoption Seminars and Events Movie Screening - Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam Saturday, January 22, 2011 from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM (ET) Princess Twin, 46 King Street North, Waterloo, Ontario The film, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, tells the significant yet untold story of the $2 million dollar US initiative that airlifted over 2,500 Vietnamese orphans into the US, Canada and Australia, out of a war-torn country to protect them from the impending threat of the Communist regime. These adoptees grew up facing unique challenges, including prejudice overshadowed by a controversial war and cultural identity crisis. Featuring compelling and insightful interviews of the volunteers, parents, and organizations directly involved, the movie takes a contemporary look at Babylift and its relevance to international adoption today. It also follows the Ballard family as they move through their adoption journey. To find out more about the film, visit The screening will be followed promptly by a Q & A session with cast members Robert and Sarah Ballard and their family. In addition, Jared Rehberg, cast member and associate producer of the film, will be present and will offer his acoustic musical styling in a reception to follow. Refreshments will be provided at the reception and will include a variety of finger foods and a cash bar. The reception is scheduled to end at 3pm. Doors will open at 10:00 am. The film screening is being held as a fundraiser for the Vietnam Education Society ( a Canadian-based non-profit helping to build schools throughout Vietnam. Although admission to the film is free, a ticket is required and cash donations are welcome. For more information and to reserve your place at the screening as well as make a donation, visit: All proceeds will go directly to support the Vietnam Education Society. Interactive Panel - Everything you always wanted to know about being adopted but were afraid to ask Friday, January 21, :30PM to 8:30PM on the University of Waterloo campus (specific room to be announced), Waterloo, Ontario The film coincides with an interactive panel entitled, Everything you always wanted to know about being adopted but were afraid to ask. The panel will feature three international and transracial adult adoptees from Vietnam and Korea who will share their life and experience being adopted and growing up in Canada and the United States. Admission is free! For more information visit: Broader ADOPTION ISSUES The Writing and Opinions of E J Graff The material from the conference has not yet arrived for us to review. Look for comments in the next newsletter. Brendan Cavanaugh Blog Notice Where blogs are listed it is as a courtesy to our adoptive families. They are not to be considered publications of TDH. They represent the personal experiences and interpretations of individual families. TDH does not monitor and does not approve their content. We ask families to use discretion in their blog posts with the knowledge that public blogs may be monitored by officials in Canada and abroad. We recognize the value of sharing experiences and building common bonds among families who share the experience of adoption; therefore we publish these blog locations. However, their inclusion here does not imply that they reflect the positions of TDH or any of its staff nor does it indicate TDH s approval of the blog for accuracy, or interpretation of the information. Content Requests, Family Features, Questions, Comment Submissions We endeavour to make each issue of our newsletter informative and interesting. If you have a suggestion for an article, wish to contribute an article, have comments, feedback, questions or a request for information on a particular topic, please let us know! You may also submit photos, with descriptive captions. We love your comments and feedback! Send comments, questions, submissions to:

14 Page 14 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 Who? What? Why? : Literature Club Session One Children are curious and ask many questions, especially during the preschool years. They inquire about physical differences and about how they joined their family. As parents, we need to be well informed and prepared for these conversations. It is our responsibility to be delicately truthful and share with them the personal and sometimes difficult details of the who, what and whys of their little lives. In doing so, it can be helpful to have added tools to aid in facilitating positive, reassuring communications. The use of pictures and words can be a tremendous help. In order to assist with this task, I have put together a short list of the many adoption related resources available to both parents and children of all ages and circumstances. The complete list is posted on the TDH website at: which is in the GENERAL LINKS section. That being said, we thought it would be interesting to solicit readers to participate in an ongoing Book Club. Based on a positive response, going forward each newsletter will list 2 book titles; one for an adult and one for a child. Brief summaries of the featured books will be provided. We encourage you, our readers, to read the books and submit your thoughts and comments. Submissions will be complied and included in the following newsletter, allowing others to use the positive or negative feedback in their consideration on whether or not to include the selections in their personal adoption library. Quarterly Picks Session 1, 2011 ADULT: THE PRIMAL WOUND: Understanding the Adopted Child By: Nancy Verrier Brief: Considered by many as the adoptees' bible, this emotional read touches the heart and gives excellent information on pre- and perinatal psychology, attachment, bonding, separation and loss while helping to acknowledge, understand, and validate the wounds created by abandonment/ relinquishment. CHILDREN: A MOTHER FOR CHOCO By: Keiko Kasza Brief: Designed for preschoolers, this book is about a young bird that goes in search of mother. By the end of the tale, Choco realizes that he does not need to resemble his parents in order to be loved by them. Comments, opinions and further title submissions can be sent directly to Jennifer at: Please submit your comments on this session s selected books by March 20, If you are interested in hosting or joining a group in your area to discuss in person, please let Jennifer know. Happy Reading! Jennifer Walker

15 Page 15 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 Images of Adoption: Featuring Individuals who have been associated with the image of adoption in the public mind. Remembering Naomi Bronstein - A Homegrown Activist for Children Worldwide Naomi Bronstein (Sept 22, 1945 Dec 23, 2010) Naomi Bronstein was a hands-on, do-it-herself activist for children. She established orphanages in Vietnam, Cambodia and Guatemala. She was running a mobile medical clinic for rural children in Guatemala when she went to sleep on December 23, 2010 and died during the night. She had poor health including heart disease for a number of years and her heart finally gave out. She was 65. Her death marks the beginning of the end of an era. She was part of the social phenomenon in Montreal that initiated and developed international adoption in Canada. Montreal Families Attempt International Adoptions In the 1970 s a small group of people living in the West Island of Montreal with a common interest in international adoption had found each other and met under the encouraging banner of Welcome a Child. Brendan and Dorinda Cavanaugh were among them. The constant topic was From where could we adopt a child? With all the problems reported about orphaned and abandoned children around the world, no one initially expected it to be so difficult. None of us knew it at the time, but we were in the process of developing a life-long commitment to the care of children in the international arena. The only adoptions from Vietnam at that time were through the remarkable Australian, Rosemary Taylor. Rosemary was strongly supported by TDH Lausanne, which made it possible for Vietnamese children to be adopted by Canadian families, including that of Herb and Naomi Bronstein. In the process Naomi discovered a prejudice against international adoption in the Montreal social service and the impact on children of cultural prejudices in other countries. An activist by personality, she became outraged at the fact of children left to languish in orphanages in Vietnam and everywhere else because they were culturally unacceptable. Naomi described how during the lengthy process of completing the paperwork for international adoption, the babies died and no one cared. Naomi Bronstein Galvanized to Do More Naomi s first reaction to the plight of children was extremely personal. She adopted as many as she could: three from Vietnam, one from Cambodia, another from Ecuador, then a sixth from Canada, ending up with 13 children, seven of which were adopted. Next she broadened her perspective and helped over 650 more to find new homes with other families in various countries by facilitating international adoption. Eager to do more, Naomi began traveling to Vietnam and Cambodia, at her own expense, to arrange adoptions for others. Naomi was a dedicated worker whose style was that of a determined activist with little patience for the obstacles of bureaucracy, badly made laws, and people who did not work at her intense pace. Her impatience often cost her heavily in terms of good will and often resulted in opposition and lack of cooperation. 'What would I do if it was the life of one of my own children at stake?' And I have to think of all children the same way. People say that what we do is a drop in the bucket, but my answer is that if everyone helped one child we could go a long way towards helping the 41 million children in the world who need medical attention. Operation Baby-Lift In 1975 Naomi, who was only 29 at the time, was absent from the role of housewife and mother to her 11 children back in Montreal and in Saigon arranging for another planeload of children to be flown to Canada. On April 4, as North Vietnamese troops advanced on Saigon, an Air Force C-5A cargo jet took off from the city carrying some 240 orphans, their escorts and military personnel. Minutes after takeoff a rear door blew off and the plane crashed, the upper deck fell down onto the lower deck of the plane, crushing the children and workers. Naomi sprung into action immediately. Commandeering an orphanage ambulance, she raced through the streets to the wreckage and began transporting the injured to hospitals. A photo of her anguished face was flashed around the world and she instantly became the poster image for ill-fated Operation Baby-Lift and the appalling death of 140 Vietnamese infants. The Aftermath and the Guilt The experience left Naomi traumatized. She had originally found many of the orphans more dead than alive, in boxes and handbags, in places where evil has had its way. And now over 100 of her children were dead. They had been in her care and she confessed to burning with feelings of survivor s guilt: She was supposed to be on the plane but had decided not to go at the last minute. Her friend took her place. Naomi s grief was profound. These tragic deaths indelibly marked Naomi s attitude towards life. She particularly recalled the sight of a decapitated serviceman and of an infant whose arm fell off when the child was lifted. "Until then I hadn't been afraid of being in Vietnam. I thought, 'If you're doing good and you're apolitical, who is going to hurt you?' But the plane crash blew away those reassurances." Her sense of innocence and security was shattered by the violence of reality. The horror changed Naomi Bronstein into a zealot focused on saving children and altered her marriage and the lives of her children. "One does not become insane, but one will never be the same person again", she reflected. To read more about Naomi s remarkable life and work visit: Brendan Cavanaugh Excerpted by : Marlene Alt

16 Page 16 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 Adoption is more often an event that fills us with joy, and the process, though often long and difficult, is at least in retrospect a part of the story we pass on to our children - the story that becomes our children s history. All too often in poor countries that story is cut short and a child dies before his life can be recognized as significant, meaningful. And there is no one to tell their story. Sadly during this last month, two such children have died. This article is an effort to recognize that those lives were important, that they were loved, and that they had impact. Nguyen Hoang Huy, August 3, 2010 December 15, 2010 The first child, Nguyen Hoang Huy was born August 3, 2010, a healthy and beautiful little boy. Stricken with pneumonia at 3 and a half months of age, he was hospitalized first at a local hospital and then moved to the Nhi Dong 1 Pediatric Hospital. Despite efforts made to save his life, tireless energy devoted to him by his nanny, and visits by Dr. Jonathan, Loan, and myself to provide what resources we could, after a month in intensive care on a respirator, his lungs could no longer sustain his life. He died on December 16. Hoang Huy s body was carried back to the orphanage, where he was cremated. His potential adoptive parents, although never having met him, loved him and mourn his loss, and we offer them our sincerest sympathy. We Remember... Nguyen Thanh Binh, April 8, 2010 December 28, A second child, Nguyen Thanh Binh, was born on April 8, Two months later she was hospitalized with respiratory distress and a few days later was transferred to Nhi Dong 1 Hospital, where she was intubated. Thanh Binh was a fighter, and almost died several times in the hospital as she struggled to survive the pneumonia which persisted for 4 months. Eventually a tracheostomy was performed to help her breath, and she gradually improved until December 22, when she was discharged from hospital, still with the tracheostomy which was scheduled to be closed on January 5. On December 28, she died suddenly at the orphanage. Lien ( Mama Lien ) was the nanny for both Hoang Huy and Thanh Binh. The situation in hospitals in Vietnam is such that the nannies need to be with the children night and day to care for them and do all non-medical nursing. During the time I was at the hospital visiting these two babies, I was privileged to witness the love, the infinite patience, and the impressive professionalism with which this nanny treated these two children. And being with Thanh Binh 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for four months, through multiple crises, you can imagine the bond she had with her. Hers was truly a labor of love. So it is first to her that we offer our deepest sympathy. Thanh Binh as well was in the process of adoption. She is mourned by the parents who would have been hers. Dorinda Cavanaugh There are stars whose light only reaches the earth long after they have fallen apart. There are those whose remembrance gives light in this world long after they have passed away. Donations in Memory of these, and other, tragically lost lives can be made to: Life Without Limits, a new TDH campaign where 100% of your donation goes towards helping children living in orphanages in Vietnam who need immediate medical attention. Your donation can remove the medical obstacles that many children face and allow them to live a life without limits! Mail your cheque, with Life Without Limits in the memo, to: TDH Canada Inc. 36 Home Ave., P.O. Box 963 Vankleek Hill, Ontario K0B 1R0 Charitable Reg.#: Tax receipts will be issued.

17 Photo by:norm Rumfeldt, of Visual Dynamics Photography Page 17 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 NEW Arrivals! Francesca L'Orfano of Ottawa gratefully announces the arrival of her much awaited and beloved son Matteo Bao. Born May 30, Referral from Vung Tau 1 received July 9. Adopted on November 22 and arrived home in time for Christmas on Dec. 6. viaggioavietnam.blogspot.com Anne-Marie McGonigle and Norm Rumfeldt of Toronto joyfully announce the arrival of Sophie Mai Rumfeldt from Quang Ninh. Referral date - March 27th, Date of Return to Canada - November 17th. Susan and Jeff Porritt of Toronto, along with big sister Olivia (adopted from China in Jan., 2007) are thrilled to announce the arrival of Owen, 7 months old, from Hoa Binh. His adoption was completed on November 11, We returned home on November 20, To announce your New Arrival Caroline Bennet at: Your Giving and Receiving Ceremony must be completed prior to the newsletter publication date (next issue due out April 15).

18 Page 18 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 Broader ADOPTION ISSUES An Adoption Lifebook THE PURPOSE Creating a LIFEBOOK for your child will help them to understand their past; enabling them to develop a secure sense of self so that they can excel throughout the years ahead. Many of us new or waiting parents will, at some point, need to explain and answer questions for our children about their pre-adoption life; who they are and where they are from are just a few examples. It is their right to ask, and our parental obligation to tell them (at age appropriate understanding levels, of course). Depending on your child s history, this can be a difficult task. This is especially so if the information you have is limited, or particularly unsavoury - unfortunate, but the reality of many. That being said, creating a LIFEBOOK for your child will act as a tool for you and them to freely discuss anything they feel the need to know. Essentially, you are creating a personalized book that documents the LIFE of your child. This is not a scrapbook and although pictures and keepsakes are wonderful to include for visual effect, it is the time spent and words written that make it unique and special. And while a scrapbook is something we eagerly share with others, a lifebook can be more of a private volume. There are several different ways to go about creating a LIFEBOOK for your child. Some create it solely based on the child; their story, their details, answers to their potential questions and concerns etc. Others choose to merge these details into a forever family book. Either way, the intent is the same; to provide your child with as much knowledge about themselves and their history as possible. Personally, I choose to create our child s lifebook as the first in a series of forever family volumes. I wanted to do it this way so that as time passes, each new volume will cover a new year. The first, and most important, volume will be structured in a way that begins at birth carries through the adoption process and ends with our 1 year anniversary together. Regardless of the creative methods you choose, the below instructions can be used as a guideline. WHEN TO BEGIN I feel it is best to start creating as soon as possible. If you are waiting, it s a great way to help pass the time and do something positive and constructive towards the future development of your child. Starting now also guarantees that you won t be put-off later when the time constraints of parenthood kick into action. However, if your child is already home don t let the task of getting started overwhelm you to the point you decide against the effort. Gather all the information you have and begin jotting down recollections and points you want to pursue. Even if a finished product isn t doable right now, you will have the resources to create one in the future. Perhaps even with your child s involvement, which some would say is critical to the success of the lifebook project anyhow. To sum it up, you re basically archiving any available LIFE details of your child: birth parents and any biological family member knowledge, date and location of birth as well any other attainable information. Be detail oriented and descriptive. You can also include comments and facts about their birth country, their culture and history, any details that unfold about them personally, any pertinent questions and answers, precious moments, stories, things you did while waiting, the multitude of steps you took to bring them home, etc. All of these important details will help to fill some (not all) of the missing holes in your child s life. Some questions you may never be able to answer but having a LIFEBOOK will help your child to understand as much as possible about who they are, what they mean to you and the measures taken to bring them home to their forever family. It also clears the path for open dialogue with your child. WHAT YOU LL NEED 3 or 4 D-Ring Binder or Scrapbook Album Paper (recommend acid-free, lignin-free to prevent discolouration and deterioration over time) Clear Page Protectors (to keep things clean and durable, look for photo-safe ) Pens, Pencils, Printer or all (it s up to you and what you re most comfortable using, but take care to use tools that won t bleed or fade over time) some form of adhesive (again, look for something photo-safe and permanent, avoid liquid glue, as it could bleed through paper) Some people make two copies of their child s lifebook, or an original and a copy, so that the child has one on-hand for everyday use and there is one for safe-keeping. GETTING STARTED Below are some helpful page topics to get you started. If you are currently waiting, my suggestion is to make what I call pre-pages. These are pre-determined mock-up pages with spaces left blank for you to include dates, times, pictures and text entries, as they occur. Otherwise, jump into the project on the page you feel most comfortable with, and build around that starting point. Don t get stymied just because you don t have the information for a specific topic or question! Just capture the details that you do have, research where possible for areas you don t have information, and accept that there may be areas you and your child will have to work on together later.

19 Page 19 TDH Ontario Quarterly January 2011 Broader ADOPTION ISSUES cont d Lifebook cont d Intro Page this is a dedication page where you can tell your child the purpose of the lifebook. For example: This is (child name here) s Lifebook. Everyone has a beginning and a story to tell. This is your story. It describes how you were born and lived in (country) and our journey to become a forever family. We hope it helps you to understand more about yourself and the many special people who took care of you until we met. We also hope it helps you learn more about (country) because you will forever be connected to the place you were born. While we don t know all there is to know about your beginnings, this book was made so that you will always know as much as possible about your special history. We love you very much, and give this book to you as a gift that celebrates the journey of who you are and who you will one day become. Love always, Mom & Dad. Birthday Page include as much information about them as you can attain. Date, names, location, describe the season, typical activities, any known family history, meaning of given name, etc. Any location that you are able to visit you can also include photographs. Birth Country Page images and facts like their native flag, popular foods, occupations, games, clothing, animals, landmarks, history and music. Where You re From? information about birth mom/family Why was I adopted? - discuss reason(s) why birthparent(s) couldn't care for a child. If specific details are unknown discuss common reasons in that area/country for making an adoption plan. Note: use the words I think... and stress the adult responsibility it is not the child's fault. The Wait this page can list the things you did to prepare for your child s arrival. The Call this page can list the time and details of when you received your referral call from the agency. Include the photos too! On Our Way this page can list your emotions and excitement at the time of travel to meet your child. The Orphanage this page can list details about the orphanage or foster residence, its location, the people that helped care for your child, his or her daily routine, friends, etc. Forever Family Day this page can show pictures and comments about the day you officially became a forever family. CAUTION There are no rules to creativity (says the artist in me) however, I will draw caution to the following; be delicate with your wording and use age appropriate adoption terminology. Remember, this book is a lifelong gift to your child. The intent is to help clarify and ease, not confuse. For those of you who may find this project a struggle, please feel free to contact me for further details. I would be happy to share my own preliminary pages and/or give out further guidance as required: HELPFUL READING RESOURCES LifeBooks : Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child by Beth O'Malley Available at: Adoption Lifebook: A Bridge to Your Child's Beginnings by Cindy Probst Available at: Jennifer Walker )

Adopt-an-Orphanage A project providing humanitarian aid to children in Asia, Africa and Latin America/Caribbean

Adopt-an-Orphanage A project providing humanitarian aid to children in Asia, Africa and Latin America/Caribbean Children of All Nations and Great Wall China Adoption Present Adopt-an-Orphanage A project providing humanitarian aid to children in Asia, Africa and Latin America/Caribbean Introduction- Why adopt an

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